WHY restart something that never stopped?

Written by Enrico Grigoletti

Week 37

WHY restart something that never stopped?

Let’s start at the beginning. When I launched Contemporary Standard in 2009 I set myself some goals. Six years of continuous activity wasn’t one of them, but I am glad we have reached this point. Producing 100% original content was however one of these initial objectives (perhaps the most important one), and I’m glad we’ve finally arrived. Well, to be honest my plan was to arrive here a few years ago, but the languid nature of doing business in Italy slowed down our process, and I was faced with the cold reality that producing original content is hellish work.
Perhaps this remains one of the distinguishing features between amateurs and professionals, especially considering that the current digital landscape is governed by intense activity of reposting, reblogging and bouncing content back and forth from one media platform to another. Don’t get me wrong, this is what we did ourselves for years, but I knew it was a temporary thing. It was a necessary first step. We just weren’t ready.
For years Contemporary Standard was suited up in carefully selected and curated content, although it was not strictly ‘original’. Slowly we started introducing our own editorials, our own videos, our own reports, and our own interviews with design studios and workplaces, but I still wasn’t satisfied.
About a month ago, I noted a certain discrepancy between what we were publishing and what others (I mean THE GOOD OTHERS) were doing.

I realised it was the right moment to push the pause button, and reflect on how to rebuild Contemporary Standard from the ground up.
The time had finally arrived to clear superfluous surface content and to go into depth with each article. And embrace all the challenges this entails. Alas, here lays the answer to the question raised in the title. However, there is a second question that naturally follows: HOW can you restart something that never stopped?
This is the hardest part. How can you change something without actually changing it? Each media has (or at least should have) an identity, an intrinsic value that sets it apart from everything else. This should NEVER change.
All the rest are frills that you can tweak, develop or get rid of. Designing a content strategy is no different from designing a piece of furniture, and adhering to Dieter Ram’s ‘Good Design’ principles, we decided to focus on the essential elements. Good design is as little design as possible. Less but better.
From today, we will publish five articles a week that will cover five different content industries: culture, style, design & architecture, travel & community and body. Each week we’ll develop a themed content approach across these categories.
Each month, for the PATHFINDER project, we’ll explore one city or one geographic area through these categories as well.
This is the most important and equally difficult step forward we have taken thus far. We are 100% sure that you, our Readers, our most important patrons, will appreciate it.

Happy reading.